Islamic Finance

Qatar’s Al Khalij shares rise after $2.2 billion share-swap deal

Published 10 Jan,2021 via Bloomberg Markets - Al Khalij Commercial Bank PQSC shares surged Sunday after it agreed with Masraf Al Rayan QSC for a share-swap combination that will create Qatar’s second-largest lender.

The shares climbed as much as 8.7% in Doha, the biggest intraday gain in more than two months. Masraf Al Rayan shares rose 0.8%.

Masraf Al Rayan plans to issue 0.5 securities for every Al Khalij share for the merger. The deal is valued at 8.2 billion riyals ($2.2 billion), according to Bloomberg calculations.

Combining with Al Khalij will see Al Rayan leapfrog its next two largest competitors by giving it $47 billion in assets -- still six times less than that of Qatar National Bank QPSC. Qatar has 2.5 million people being served by about 20 local and international banks, leaving smaller lenders at a disadvantage unless they can find a niche or competitive edge.

The combination will “create a larger and stronger financial institution with a strong financial position and significant liquidity available to support Qatar’s economic growth,” the lenders said Thursday.

Al Rayan’s Ali Bin Ahmad Al Kuwari will become chairman and Al Khalij’s Sheikh Hamad Bin Faisal Bin Thani Al-Thani will become vice chairman of merged entity. The executive committee of the board will be chaired by Sheikh Hamad Bin Faisal Bin Thani Al-Thani.

Al Rayan and Al Khalij started talks in June last year amid a wave of bank consolidations in the Gulf’s financial industry. Lenders are seeking to build scale to cope with the fallout of lower oil prices and the economic havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The spate of large transactions has helped consolidate a fragmented industry. Saudi Arabia’s largest lender, National Commercial Bank, last year bought Samba Financial Group for $15 billion in one of the biggest banking takeovers of 2020.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is financial adviser to Al Rayan and Al Khalij.

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Archana Narayanan